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History of Sendai Airport

Opening of the Airport

Yanome Airfield

“Yanome Airfield”, which was returned from the GHQ (General Headquarters of the Allied Powers) in 1956, was opened as “Sendai Airfield” the following year.
Airline companies continued to increase their routes thereafter, and it was again renamed as “Sendai Airport” in 1964.

Shirasagi-go

A de Havilland Heron aircraft used as a short-haul passenger aircraft in the 1950s. “Shirasagi-go” (All Nippon Airways), the first aircraft put in service at Sendai Airfield, was welcomed by many spectators.

YS-11

The YS-11 built by the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation was the first passenger aircraft made in Japan.
At Sendai Airport, it was used for flights to Tokyo starting in 1969.

jet aircrafts worldwide in the 1960s

In response to the rapid adoption of jet aircrafts worldwide in the 1960s, a new runway and terminal building were constructed at Sendai Airport.
This expanded the airport’s regular flights to cover all of Japan.
In 1972, for the first time, a jet aircraft landed onto the newly constructed runway.

The Boeing 727

The Boeing 727 contributed to the adoption of jet aircrafts for short- and medium-haul flights with its high performance and small turning radius.

Crowded check-in counters

Crowded check-in counters. Due to increased passengers, seat occupancy remained almost full constantly.

Local Produce Market

In 1982, the “Local Produce Market” corner was opened to provide the prefecture’s specialties and local produce.

Becming the First International Airport in the Tohoku Area

In 1986,Sendai Airpart initiated measures for internationalization

In 1986,Sendai Airpart initiated measures for internationalization,including the decision to extend the runway.In 1990, flights to and from Seoul as well as Guam were established, making it the first international airpart in the Tohoku area. Since flying destinations continued to increase thereafter, the construction of a new passenger terminal building was initiated to make it appropriate as a hub airport in Tohoku. The terminal building was fully opened in 1997.

In 1992, the runway was extended to 2, 500m.

In 1992, the runway was extended to 2, 500m. To commemorate the extension, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways operated flights with jumbo jets.

The first international route was between Sendai and Seoul in 1990

The first international route was between Sendai and Seoul in 1990. A scene of the ceremony commemorating the commencement of international flights.

packed the terminal building with passengers for days on end.

Convenient direct international flights made the airport popular and packed the terminal building with passengers for days on end.

In 1997, the new passenger terminal building was opened.

In 1997, the new passenger terminal building was opened. It was designed around the themes of “light” as in the natural light coming into the building, “wind” expressed by the large wavy roof and “dreams” or admiration for foreign countries and future.


Making the Airport in Harmony with the Region

We conduct measures in cooperation with the government and continue to make the airport atteactive to passengers and local resideents.

Access Line
Sendai Airport Railway
Access Line Sendai Airport Railway

With the launch of the “Sendai Airport Line” that connects the airport and JR Sendai Staion in 17 minutes at the fastest,passengers can travel to the airport more comfortably.
For more information

Rooftop observation deck
“SMILE TERRACE”
Rooftop observation deck SMILE TERRACE

The observation deck provides up-close view of aircrafts only available at the airport.Passengers can enjoy viewing the takeoffs and landings of aircrafts while sensing the sound of engines and wind.
For more information

Airport Museum
“Tobucha”
Airport Museum Tobucha

The museum was opened in hopes of instilling admiration for the sky in children.It is full of fun exhibits including hands-on cockpit experiences.
For more information

The Disaster and the Aftermath

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.
Passengers, local residents and employees evacuated into the terminal building.
After damaging small aircrafts and helicopters, the rushing tsunami waves pushed cars and debris into the 1st floor of the terminal building. Sendai Airport experienced extensive damage.

2011.3.11 Occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake
Maximum seismic intensity 7.0
Magnitude 9.0
14:46
About 1,700 Passengers, local residents and employees evacuate onto the 3rd floor of the terminal building.
15:56
Arrival of tsunami
Water rushes into the terminal building up to 3.02 m high, pushing an enormous mount of cars and debris into the 1st floor. A total of 67 small aircrafts and helicopters belonging to the Japan Coast Guard and private sector experience damage.
2011.3.12 Ambulances and microbuses arrive to evacuate the evacuees.
2011.3.16 Evacuation of all evacuees except airport employees finishes. U.S. Air Force squadrons stationed at Kadena Airfield (Okinawa Pref.) arrive and clear part of the runway to deliver equipment and vehicles for reconstruction with cargo aircraft.
U.S. Air Force air traffic controllers set up temporary air traffic control to recover airport functions.
2011.4 early In early April. Sendai Airport becomes the base of the combined U.S-Japan rescue activities “Operation Tomodachi” by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Japan Self-Defense Forces, and the U.S. Forces deliver food and blankets to disaster-stricken areas. The Domestic Flight Departure Lobby on the 2nd floor becomes the bedroom for many American soldiers. During this time, the airport management staff does everything they can to recover airport functions.
An office in the terminal building immediately after the earthquake

An office in the terminal building immediately after the earthquake

Connected pillars damaged by the earthquake

Connected pillars damaged by the earthquake

Guiding of evacuees before tsunami hits

Guiding of evacuees before tsunami hits

Area around Sendai Airport after tsunami hits

Area around Sendai Airport after tsunami hits

Tsunami hitting Sendai Airport. The water level reached 3.02m.

Tsunami hitting Sendai Airport. The water level reached 3.02m.

Runway after the withdrawal of tsunami

Runway after the withdrawal of tsunami

Around the entrance to the domestic flights terminal on the 1st floor

Around the entrance to the domestic flights terminal on the 1st floor

Cargo terminal completely destroyed by fire

Cargo terminal completely destroyed by fire

A U.S. military cargo aircraft arriving for rescue

A U.S. military cargo aircraft arriving for rescue

Airport apron used as the base for delivering relief supplies to disaster-stricken areas

Airport apron used as the base for delivering relief supplies to disaster-stricken areas

From Reconstruction to the New Stage

Prompt Recovery from the Disaster
Airline counters resuming operation with temporary facilities

Airline counters resuming operation with temporary facilities

Airport apron operated provisionally

Airport apron operated provisionally

The 1st flight after recovecy. Message from the cockpit.

The 1st flight after recovecy.
Message from the cockpit.

Just 1 month after the disaster, Sendai Airport resumed provisional operations by providing temporary flights.
Regular domestic flights were reopened in July 2011, while regular international flights were reopened in September.
In July of the following year, all routes were restored.


To the New Stage to Take Off to the Future
復旧第1便コックピットからのメッセージ

After the disaster, Miyagi Prefecture announced its intention to privatize Sendai Airport. In response, the consortium of the Tokyu Group, Maeda Corporation and Toyota Tsusho set up Sendai International Airport Co., Ltd.
We are proceeding to the new stage as “Sendai International Airport” which connects the Tohoku area to the world.

Recommended Information

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  • MICHELIN GUIDE 2017 MIYAGI
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